Merely looking at these images without context, you’d almost certainly assume the worst for anyone inside the unrecognisable car. And yet, that wasn’t the outcome here.
A 46-year-old woman escaped with only minor injuries despite her Nissan Altima becoming crushed and quite literally folded in half under a lorry in Mount Vernon, Washington state on Tuesday. The Nissan driver was travelling on the Skagit River Bridge and slowing down for traffic when the close-following semi-truck behind failed to stop in time. The Altima was struck and pushed into another truck in front, causing it to fold and go under the following lorry.
The Nissan driver was left trapped inside the mangled vehicle with the movement of the bridge causing the lorry on top to shake. Amazingly, though, once the truck was lifted free, the woman was able to crawl out the Altima on her own.
According to Washington State Patrol trooper Rocky Oliphant, who Tweeted shocking photos of the wreck’s aftermath, the woman suffered only minor pain in her ribs and head and was taken to hospital for further checks. Oliphant described her escape as “miraculous,” although, as reported by The Seattle Times, the officer also dubbed the accident as “a little bit of a perfect storm”.
The way the car folded in two may well have been key to her survival, he explained. It kept some of the lorry’s mass off the passenger cell and created a ramp-like shape for it to drive over. “She may be the luckiest unlucky person,” Oliphant concluded.
The I5 that runs across the bridge was closed in both directions following the crash at 10.50 am, reopening southbound at 11.30 and northbound at 12.26 pm. The driver of the lorry that ended up on top of the Altima was cited for following too closely.